Today we continue the list of tips to help us focus our small groups on discipleship.
- Help the women in your church discover their spiritual gifts, keeping an eye out for individuals with the gift of teaching. Don’t assume you know someone’s gifting or area of interests. Ask regularly! You don’t need to identify the next Beth Moore; simply look for women who will faithfully handle God’s Word and lead others to do the same.
- Turn them from following a leader to following Christ. Continually point women back to Him, especially if they tend to thank YOU for what’s happening in their lives spiritually.
- Challenge women to get out there on a limb, scared but obedient to God’s call. If one of our staff ministers had not challenged me 25 years ago to take steps of faith and leadership, I am not sure I would have ever tried.
- If a woman seems unsure if she is capable of teaching, ask her to serve as your co-teacher. In this way, she can practice teaching in small segments with you standing ready to step in if she needs your help. The co-teacher system is also a great way teach women how to facilitate discussion, encourage questions, and unpack God’s Word in a group setting.
- Ask women what they are leaving behind as they serve, what is their ministry legacy, and what is being replicated into the life of another. We are told to share today so that future generations will know Him (Psalm 102:18).
Here are some final thoughts on how to make disciples who can teach other women to read and study the Bible:
- Offer a better variety of Bible studies and leaders than simply video-driven studies or books written by the most popular teachers and authors. In this way, you’ll avoid the bandwagon of promoting personalities over God’s Word.
- Educate the women in your church about the cycle of discipleship. A disciple does not simply remain a student only. To become a fully-formed disciple, she will need to step into the role of teacher as well. Replicating oneself does not require a woman to possess the spiritual gift of teaching; she only needs to be willing to demonstrate to others how to live out their faith in simple ways and rightly handle God’s Word.
- Intentionally challenge specific women to work through the same material with someone else they know—either one person or in a small group. In this way, studying the Bible becomes a form of replicating discipleship. I love something the Open Your Bible authors did halfway through that study. They challenged women to pray and ask God if there is someone who needs to know what they have already learned in the study and to consider leading a study themselves in the future.
- Select material that is easily reproducible so women can lead other women through similar studies.
Discipleship is not something added into our ministry to women; it’s the core of it. Based on the Word of God, it’s to be expected and anticipated with excitement. I hope this series has confirmed some things and maybe given you a couple of new ideas of how you can help the women you lead grow as disciples who make disciples!